Staff

Names are listed alphabetically by last name.
Amia' Butler
Development Manager

Amia’ brings over seven years of experience in fundraising, public relations, program coordination, event planning, facilitation, and volunteer management. Holding a bachelor’s degree in Public Relations and a master’s degree in Corporate Communications, she is a two-time Austin Peay State University graduate and served as the student life graduate research assistant. There she led a university-wide fundraising initiative for the YMCA After Breast Cancer program. In that role, she worked with over 300 donors and helped the YMCA surpass its fundraising goal by twenty percent. Additionally, she drafted fundraising appeals, held donor meetings, and played an instrumental part in developing the donor communications calendar.

No stranger to Legal Aid, she executed pro bono placement working with more than 300 hundred attorneys and organized continued learning events at Legal Aid of North Carolina as a pro bono coordinator. Most recently, Amia’ led internal and external communication strategies for a notable North Carolina scientific research company, where she was able to use storytelling to connect the community to critical scientific causes and build internal work culture. Additionally, Amia’ has coordinated community programs and organized events for vulnerable communities through a prominent Nashville non-profit organization, The Way, Truth and Enlightenment Institute.

Amia’ is a Nashville native passionate about the policy and mentorship for children affected by parental incarceration. Lastly, she is a trained dancer of over 15 years and teaches ballet and jazz dance to youth at a local dance studio. Amia’ enjoys discovering new coffee shops and considers herself an art enthusiast.

Anna Catlin
Director of Finance
(615) 780-7126
EMAIL

Anna Catlin joined the Legal Aid Society as an Accountant in June, 1996. She received her Bachelors degree in Accounting from Tennessee State University. Her interests include reading and spending time with family.

David Kozlowski
Director of Advocacy
(931) 771-9164
EMAIL

David Kozlowski is a 1974 graduate of Vanderbilt University Law School. He was a clinical instructor at the Vanderbilt Legal Clinic from 1975 to 1980, at which time he joined the Legal Aid Society. In 2001 he worked with the Tennessee Justice Center on several class action cases. In 2002 he became the Assistant General Counsel to the Legal Aid Society and is now the Director of Advocacy for the firm. He has been lead counsel on many significant state and federal court decisions in Tennessee involving prisoner and juvenile rights and is one of the leading appellate court advocates in Tennessee. He is the author of leading reference works on Tennessee unemployment security law and chapters on appeals from juvenile and general sessions courts in Tennessee Appellate Practice and Tennessee Law of Children. He is a frequent presenter at local, state and national training events. David received the Tennessee Bar Association’s award as the Public Service Attorney of the Year in 1998. In 2014 the Tennessee Supreme Court reappointed him to a third three year term on its Advisory Commission on the Rules of Practice and Procedure, that term expiring on December 31, 2017. He was a hearing officer for the Board of Professional Responsibility from 2002 through 2008 and was reappointed to another three year term by the Supreme Court in 2016. He and his colleague Rae Anne Smith, an attorney in the Tullahoma office, were asked by the Supreme Court in 2013 to co-chair a sub-committee of the Court Improvement Committee that was tasked with considering revisions to Tennessee’s Rules of Juvenile Procedure – a project that resulted in the adoption in 2016 of the completely rewritten Tennessee Rules of Juvenile Practice and Procedure in 2016.

Vince Morris
Director of Compliance & Legal Technology

Vince Morris joined the Legal Aid Society as the Director of Compliance and Legal Technology in 2023 after relocating to Nashville from Little Rock, Arkansas where he was in private practice since 2016. His practice focused on criminal defense and domestic relations.

He began his legal career at a legal aid organization in Arkansas as an eight-week intern and then left that position 12 years later as the Director of the Arkansas Legal Services Partnership (ALSP) and a licensed attorney. During his time with legal aid, he focused on the development, upkeep, and funding of a large catalogue of legal technology resources for pro se users and the legal aid staff and pro bono attorneys helping to assist the low-income population in gaining meaningful access to justice. Morris was named a “Legal Rebel” in 2012 by the American Bar Association. He received the Innovations in Equal Justice Award by the National Legal Aid & Defender Association in 2014. On the state level, he was honored with the 2015 Marie Interfaith Civic Leadership Award and then received the 2017 C.A.R.E Award for his work with reentry programs.

Throughout his career Morris provided legal technology consulting services to legal aid organizations and courts throughout the nation. Before his legal career Morris worked as a house carpenter and may have followed the Grateful Dead once or twice. He is still a builder.

Theresa Morrison
Communications Manager
EMAIL

Theresa Morrison graduated from Austin Peay State University with a B.S. in Communications and a M.A. in Media Management. She is a skilled communications professional with diverse expertise in social media marketing, event planning, project coordination, copy editing, donor relations, website management, graphic design, and communication strategy. She has a track record of successfully managing multiple projects with budgets exceeding $100,000 and has demonstrated her proficiency in effective storytelling and strategic communications. What she loves most about her work is her ability to share a company's mission through the perspective of clients and community members who witness first-hand the change that can happen through advocacy.

Zac Oswald
Senior Deputy Director of Client Services

Zac Oswald is a graduate of Oklahoma State University and a 2013 cum laude graduate of University of Miami School of Law. While at law school, Zac also earned a Master of Music in Music Business and Entertainment Industries and acted as the Director of Business Affairs for Cat 5 Music Publishing. While awaiting his bar exam results, Zac worked as a grill cook at Chipotle and still cuts chicken faster than most Tennesseans.

Zac started at Legal Aid Society in 2014 as a Miami Legal Corps Fellow working in the Family Law Unit. Zac is the Senior Deputy Director of Client Services at Legal Aid Society, and practices housing and consumer law. He is the Lead Attorney for the firm’s Housing Practice Group. Zac received the Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services’s New Advocate of the Year award in 2016 and the Housing and Equality Alliance of TN’s Fred Cloud & Tracey McCartney Award in 2022.

Adonis Patton
Grant Manager/ Writer
(615) 780-7108
EMAIL

Adonis joined Legal Aid Society of Middle TN and the Cumberlands in October 2018. She was previously Associate Director of Program with Center of Hope serving clients victimized by domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking and human trafficking. In addition to ensuring clients received the best possible services available to them, she was responsible for volunteer management, grant development, staff management as well as team development. After a successful career in the for-profit sector, she transitioned into the nonprofit sector and has served communities in this capacity for 15 years. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management and a Master’s degree in Nonprofit Administration. She is credentialed by the National Organization for Victim Advocacy as a comprehensive specialist within the areas of domestic violence, sexual assault and program management.

Kalyne Renda
Deputy Director of Community Engagement

Kalyne joined Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands in November 2023. She has spent the past 25 years advocating for social justice and equity for historically marginalized individuals and communities through executive leadership, community organizing, policy advocacy and direct services. Prior to moving to Nashville, Kalyne served as the CEO of Monarch Services – Servicios Monarca in Santa Cruz County, California, leading a team of staff and volunteers in providing prevention and intervention services focused on domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking.

Kalyne has served on numerous task forces, commissions, boards, and councils. She has been active in several national, state and local initiatives and organizations promoting equity and non-violence. Kalyne graduated from Idaho State University in 1996 with a B.S. in Psychology. She is passionate about addressing systemic inequities and creating innovative solutions to increase social determinants of health and thriving communities.
Kalyne is a mom to five girls and when not in the office can be found playing in the outdoors with her daughters and husband Dominic.

Jordan Stringer
Volunteer Lawyer Program Director/ Nashville Managing Attorney
EMAIL

Jordan Stringer is a litigator and project manager with deep roots in the public interest and pro bono spaces. Over the course of his career, Jordan has worked for non-profit organizations, international law firms, and industry-leading companies, while also serving on various boards, committees, and affinity groups serving the metro Atlanta region.

Most recently, Jordan served as Legal Counsel for Equifax Inc., where he managed Equifax’s nationwide docket of single-plaintiff lawsuits concerning the Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”). In that role, Jordan both supervised outside counsel and served as counsel of record.

In the pro bono and public interest spaces, Jordan has advised homeless individuals in civil administrative and judicial proceedings, litigated civil rights cases on behalf of marginalized individuals, and counseled indigent clients facing eviction. Jordan has also worked on habeas petitions for incarcerated individuals and was part of a legal team that secured the release of a wrongly convicted client who had served 17 years of a life sentence.

In sum, Jordan has approximately 15 years of experience driving successful outcomes in challenging circumstances for non-profits, corporations, and indigent clients. Jordan prides himself on being able to work collaboratively within large organizations to solve problems and provide clear advice to diverse constituencies. Jordan believes that accountability and hard work should not come at the expense of teamwork, empathy, and mutual respect.

Jordan and his partner, Kosha Tucker, recently moved to Nashville with their two dogs, Geno and Linus. Jordan is an avid music and sports fan who enjoys collecting records, watching movies, and camping in his spare time. Jordan and Kosha dream of one day hiking the Appalachian Trail.

Make sure to send Jordan an email at jstringer@las.org and welcome her to Legal Aid Society!

Paul Swiney
Deputy Director of Operations
(615) 780-7112
EMAIL

Paul Swiney joined Legal Aid Society as the Director of Technology in late 2015 and assumed the role of Deputy Director of Operations in July 2018. He is a native Tennessean and 1984 graduate of the University of Tennessee. He began his professional experience in Washington, DC working for a political consultant where his aptitude and interest in IT helped lay the foundation for a career in this field. Upon relocation to Nashville, he spent 25 years at the public accounting firm KPMG where he focused on IT support and worked for their Office of General Counsel managing eDiscovery projects related to investigations. Throughout his career, Paul has worked with numerous nonprofits as a consultant, volunteer and board member. These experiences prepared him for his current role at Legal Aid Society, where he is responsible for oversight and management of operations, technology, finance and human resources. Paul enjoys hiking and traveling with his wife, Tambi and, in 2014, completed the 500 mile Camino de Santiago pilgrimage in Spain with his son, Chaney.

JoAnn Travis

JoAnn Travis joined Legal Aid Society (LAS) as the Director of Finance and Strategy in April 2024. She received her bachelor’s degree in business management minoring in accounting as well as her master’s degree in business administration (MBA) minoring in accounting from the University of Phoenix’s Nashville campus. JoAnn has been a Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) since 2012. She began her professional career at one of the big four public accounting firms, Deloitte & Touche, now Deloitte, and spent eight years there fulfilling the following roles consultant, senior accountant, international compensation analyst, and expatriate administrator where she focused on international compensation, payroll, tax, expatriation, repatriation, immigration, human resources, accounting, and auditing. Throughout her career, JoAnn fulfilled numerous roles as Senior IT Auditor, Senior Accountant, Controller, Director of Accounting, Director of Finance, Chief Financial Officer, Audit Manager, Audit Director, and Director of Operations at various companies, all of which prepared her for her role at Legal Aid Society.

JoAnn is originally from Detroit, Michigan, and relocated to metro Nashville in June 2007. She is a member of the Institute for Internal Audit (IIA), the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE), and the National Association of Professional Women (NAPW). JoAnn’s passion for helping others aligns with the mission, vision, and values of LAS. JoAnn enjoys traveling and singing as well as establishing a great rapport with her team and coworkers via teambuilding activities.

DarKenya W. Waller
Executive Director
(615) 780-7118
EMAIL

DarKenya W. Waller joined the Legal Aid Society in 2008. She became the Managing Attorney of its Nashville office in 2010 and the Executive Director in 2018. Her legal practice is focused primarily on family law. She is a graduate of the University of Mississippi - School of Law and earned a Master of Business Administration from Belhaven University. Mrs. Waller is a 2011 member of the Tennessee Bar Association’s Leadership Law Program for outstanding young lawyers. She was appointed to the Indigent Representation Taskforce by the Tennessee Supreme Court and is a fellow of the Nashville Bar Foundation. She serves on the Board of Directors for the Nashville Bar Association, the YWCA of Nashville, the Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services and the Nashville Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) where she is Board Chair. She has been recognized as a 2016 Woman of Influence and 2018 Best of the Bar by the Nashville Business Journal, as a 2016 Cable Athena Award Nominee and as the 2015 Advocate of the Year by the NCADV. Mrs. Waller has held leadership positions with the Lawyers Association for Women – Marion Griffith Chapter and the Nashville Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. She has served on the Tennessee State Domestic Violence Coordinating Council and as Chair of the Family Law Task Force of the Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services. She is a frequent speaker across the state on the topic of Domestic Violence training judges, clerks, commissioners and the public on the impact of domestic violence. She is most proud of her work initiating the Civil-Legal Advocate Program which provides free legal representation to victims of Domestic Violence on the Order of Protection dockets in Davidson County, TN.

Stephanie Henry
Immigration Attorney

Stephanie Henry joined Legal Aid Society May 2019 as an Immigration Attorney. She obtained her undergraduate degree from Howard University and her law degree from West Virginia University College of Law. After graduating from law school, she worked as an attorney in Washington DC before joining the Tennessee Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence in Nashville in winter 2007. She was at the Coalition as an immigration clinic staff attorney from 2007 to 2016, and as the managing attorney of the clinic from 2017- April 2019. While there, she provided consultation and representation to immigrant clients on VAWA self-petitions, U and T visas, asylum, 1-751 waivers, adjustment of status, special immigrant juvenile status, and consular processing. She has represented immigrant clients before the Executive Office for Immigration Review, Board of Immigration Appeals, Administrative Appeals office, and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Nick Armes
Oak Ridge VOCA Family & Housing Attorney

Nick Armes joined LAS in April 2019 as our new VOCA-funded family law and housing attorney in the Oak Ridge office. Nick has worked in private practice for 6 years handling housing, family law and general litigation cases in many courts within our service area. He has also represented low income parents and children in court-appointed cases. He served as the City Attorney for the Town of Oliver Springs representing them in civil enforcement municipal matters from 2014 to 2019. Nick is a member of the Phi Alpha Delta Legal Fraternity and has volunteered in numerous legal advice clinics and mock trial competitions as well as events for students at Roane State Community College. Since 2013 and continuing, Nick is an adjunct professor at Roane State Community College in Harriman, Tennessee, where he teaches courses in torts and personal injury and estates and trusts. He is active in the legal community in various leadership positions, including membership on Roane State Community College’s Paralegal Studies Advisory Board and as Secretary-Treasurer of the Anderson County Bar Association. Nick will participate in the housing and family law practice groups.

Madison Baldacci
Staff Attorney
EMAIL

My name is Madison Baldacci. I am a SNAP Advocate and Paralegal at the Legal Aid Society. I am located in the Nashville office, but I work with team members from every office in our service area to serve all of our SNAP clients! In 2017 I graduated from MTSU with a bachelors in Political Science. I interned with Catholic Charities and the Nashville Defenders before joining legal aid in 2020. Outside of work I enjoy reading and spending time my family and friends.

Tanner Beck
Staff Attorney
EMAIL

Tanner Beck joined Legal Aid Society in October 2020 as an Elder Law Attorney in the Columbia office. He is originally from Lawrenceburg, Tennessee, and he obtained both his Bachelor’s and Law degrees from the University of Tennessee. During law school, Tanner was a Student Attorney in the Domestic Violence Clinic at the University of Tennessee and both during and after law school, he was a legal assistant for private practice attorneys.
Immediately after obtaining his license to practice law, Tanner joined a private practice law firm where he represented clients in criminal and civil legal issues. Then later, he accepted a position at Legal Aid of East Tennessee. At Legal Aid of East Tennessee where he represented survivors of domestic violence in legal cases against their abusers, and he also assisted seniors with a wide range of legal issues.
After two years at Legal Aid of East Tennessee, he moved back home to Middle Tennessee and began working here at Legal Aid Society. Here, he aims to continue his goal of helping as many seniors as possible navigate their civil legal issues.
Tanner is an adamant believer in the power of organizations like Legal Aid Society to affect and change lives in authentic, meaningful, and fundamental ways, and he is honored to have an opportunity to be a part of that.

Linda Blackwelder
Attorney, Murfreesboro

Linda Blackwelder joined the Legal Aid Society in November 2017 after volunteering there for over a year. She is a graduate of the Nashville School of Law and a member of the Cooper’s Inn Honor Society. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Earth Science and a Master of Science degree in Geology. Before joining the Legal Aid Society, she worked as an environmental consultant specializing in hazardous waste remediation. She practices family law and housing law in the Murfreesboro office. Linda is committed to the ideals of social justice and access to the courts for low income individuals. When she is not at work, she can usually be found at home caring for her dogs, cats, horses, donkeys, chickens, and her goldfish Francoise.

William Bush
Cookeville Attorney, Employment Practice Lead

William Bush is a graduate of Princeton University and Case Western Reserve University Law School, where he was an editor of the Law and Housing Journal and of the Law Review. He was a national board member of the Law Students Civil Rights Research Council and a Reginald Heber Smith Fellow with Southeast Tennessee Legal Services. He joined the Legal Aid Society in 1982. He is a 2008 recipient of the B. Riney Green Award for promoting inter-program cooperation and otherwise strengthening the provision of legal aid in Tennessee. He successfully litigated one of the nation’s first private enforcement actions under the Family and Medical Leave Act. He is a member of the American Bar Association, Tennessee Bar Association, Putnam County Bar Association, National Employment Lawyer’s Association, and Tennessee Employment Lawyer’s Association. He is the Liaison to the Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service for the ABA’s Labor and Employment Law Section. He is an Editor in Chief of The Family and Medical Leave Act, a treatise jointly published by the ABA Section of Labor and Employment Law and Bloomberg BNA. He is a frequent presenter on employment law topics. He is past president of the Upper Cumberland Trial Lawyers Association and was a founder and co-chair of the board of Dismas House of the Upper Cumberlands in Cookeville. He enjoys tennis and a variety of outdoor activities.

Bailey Choudhury
Staff Attorney

Bailey Choudhury, a 2018 graduate of Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee, holds a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science with double minors in History and Religious Studies. Fueled by her dedication to justice reform, she pursued specialized studies in domestic violence prevention and advocacy at Vermont Law School, graduating in 2021. Following this, she contributed to a small estate planning law firm in Franklin, Tennessee, before joining LAS at the Gallatin office in 2024 as a Health and Benefits, and Employment attorney. Bailey is committed to offering accessible legal advice and enhancing legal service accessibility in underserved areas.

As a Tennessee native, Bailey spent her early years in the mountains of East Tennessee. Currently residing in Mount Juliet with her cherished dog, Honey, Bailey finds joy in outdoor activities with her family, baking fresh bread, and indulging in reading during her free time.

DJ Davis
FCLS Director

D.J. is a distinguished alumna of Washington University in St. Louis School of Law, having earned her degree in 1998. Throughout her remarkable legal journey, she has been unwavering in her commitment to advocating for indigent children and their families in the middle Tennessee region.

Before joining LAS in October 2023, D.J. amassed a wealth of experience. She served as a dedicated Guardian ad Litem for children in situations of abuse and neglect for several decades. Additionally, she spent six years as a grant manager for U.S. Department of Justice grants and founded and operated a private legal services office in Williamson County, Tennessee.

D.J.'s academic prowess extends beyond law, as she holds both a Doctorate and Master’s degrees in Community Research and Action from Vanderbilt University. Her multifaceted expertise enhances her ability to make a positive impact in the field.

Beyond her professional pursuits, D.J. leads a fulfilling life outside of the courtroom. She takes pleasure in renovating her historic home, engaging in stained glass projects, and cherishing her role as a devoted mom to her adult son, currently serving in the U.S. Navy, as well as her three canine companions.

Shelby Dodson
Gallatin Managing Attorney

Shelby Dodson is an attorney in the Gallatin office primarily practicing health and benefits, special education, employment, tax, and elder law. She joined Legal Aid in August 2018. Before joining Legal Aid, Shelby spent two years as an Equal Justice Works fellow hosted by the Tennessee Justice Center. Her fellowship focused on Elder Justice, a legal strategy for addressing and preventing abuse and neglect of older adults. Shelby graduated from Belmont University College of Law in 2016.

Kevin Fowler
Clarksville Managing Attorney

Kevin Fowler is a graduate of Middle Tennessee State University and a 1990 graduate of the University of North Carolina School of Law. Before joining the Legal Aid Society in 1993, he worked in private practice and with Memphis Area Legal Services. At MTSU he received the Norman L. Parks Award in Political Science and at UNC he received the American Jurisprudence Award for Torts. In 2010 the Tennessee Supreme Court appointed him to its Access to Justice Commission’s Committee on Pro Se Forms, on which he still serves. The Committee is making key recommendations to the Court on how self-represented litigants can use the judicial system more effectively.

Alyssa Fox
Staff Attorney

In January 2024, Alyssa Fox joined the Legal Aid Society as a Health & Benefits Attorney, bringing a wealth of experience and dedication. A 2021 graduate of Santa Clara University School of Law, Alyssa holds Pro Bono Certificates of Excellence in International Law, Public Interest, and Social Justice. During her time in law school, she clerked for the Honorable Judge Elizabeth Peterson and interned at the Santa Clara County Office of the Public Defender, the United Nations in Vienna, Austria, and the California Department of Justice. As a clinical law student advocate at the Northern California Innocence Project and the International Human Rights Clinic, Alyssa honed her skills. Eager to leverage her extensive background in public interest and community outreach, she is committed to effectively representing her clients. Outside the office, Alyssa finds joy in traveling and spending quality time with her beloved pets.

Mary Gillum
Oak Ridge Attorney, Coordinator, Tennessee Taxpayer Project

Mary Michelle Gillum is the Director of the Legal Aid Society's Low Income Taxpayer Clinic, also known as the Tennessee Taxpayer Project. Ms. Gillum, in conjunction with the University of Tennessee College of Law Legal Clinic and the Legal Aid Society, founded the Tennessee Taxpayer Project in 2000. Since 2000, the Tennessee Taxpayer Project has represented over 5,000 clients before the IRS and procured financial benefits totaling over $40,000,000. Ms. Gillum obtained a Bachelor of Science from the University of Tennessee in 1994 where she majored in Accounting and Business Law. In 2000, she obtained a Doctor of Jurisprudence from the University of Tennessee College of Law. She is admitted to practice in the United States Tax Court, United States Bankruptcy Court and United States District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee. She litigates cases each year in the United States Tax Court and United States Bankruptcy Court. Ms. Gillum was lead counsel in Marlow v. Commissioner, a published case that outlined actions the government must take in verifying requirements of applicable law and administrative procedure have been met in a due process hearing, and in Vinatieri v. Commissioner, a published case affirming IRC 6334(a)(1 )(D) prohibits levy when a taxpayer is facing economic hardship, even if noncompliant in filing returns. Ms. Gillum also served as counsel on Lantz v. Commissioner, a case that went up to the Circuit Court of Appeals, ultimately changing the time period to request equitable innocent spouse relief from two to ten years. Ms. Gillum began working with the Legal Aid Society in 2000 with a full fellowship from Equal Justice Works (EJW). In September 2014, EJW named Ms. Gillum to the Equal Justice Works Alumna Hall of Fame. In 2004, she received the 8. Riney Green Award from the Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services, for outstanding efforts to promote collaboration among legal aid programs. She recently received the Tennessee Bar Association's 2018 Ashley T. Wiltshire Public Service Attorney of the Year Award. Ms. Gillum is a member of the Tennessee Bar Association Faculty and provides continuing legal education seminars to attorneys throughout the state. The IRS regularly invites her to present training to examiners. She has also been invited to advise the Commissioner of the IRS on systemic issues related to low-income taxpayers. Ms. Gillum's current practices includes federal income tax controversies, bankruptcy and collection defense.

Dean Hinton
Gallatin Attorney

Dean Hinton joined the Gallatin office as a staff attorney in September, 2016. Dean graduated from the University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law. Prior to joining Legal Aid Society, Dean was in private practice handling a vast array of legal issues for clients across Middle Tennessee in both local and federal courts. He has also served as a contract paralegal for the Unites States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Tennessee Financial Litigation Unit. Dean is a former investigative journalist, and of great significance, served in the United States Air Force.

Iska Hoole
Tullahoma Managing Attorney

Iska Hoole is a 1997 graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Law. She did her undergraduate work at the University of the South in Sewanee, where she was a member of the Order of the Gown, the academic honors society. While in law school she was active in the Tennessee Association for Public Interest Law. She served as a summer intern with the North Carolina Prisoner Legal Services and as a volunteer tax preparer. She worked as a staff attorney with the Legal Aid Society in the Tullahoma office from 1998 to 2003. She worked in private practice from 2006 to 2008 and from 2010 to 2013. She was a public school teacher in Winchester, Tennessee from 2008 to 2010. She is a Rule 31 Listed General Civil and Family Mediator.

Alise Housden
Staff Attorney

Alise is a May 2015 graduate of Charlotte School of Law. She is a 2012 graduate of Western Kentucky University with a B.A. in Political Science. While in law school, Alise was a Homeless Prevention Project Volunteer. This experience will help us tremendously as she is working in her new housing position. After law school, she practiced for 6 years in bankruptcy law. Her knowledge in this area will also be helpful in her housing clients.

Trina Hughes
Staff Attorney
EMAIL

Trina Hughes joined the Oak Ridge office of the Legal Aid Society in February 2020. Before joining the Legal Aid Society, Trina worked as an elder law attorney at the East Tennessee Human Resource Agency. Trina graduated from the University of Tennessee College of Law in 2015, and during her time at law school she participated in the Mediation Clinic and the Wills Clinic. Throughout law school, Trina volunteered with the Legal Aid Society. Trina is a graduate of Lipscomb University, where she studied philosophy and French.

Patricia Jones
Columbia Managing Attorney, Mortgage Foreclosure Practice Lead

Patricia Jones is a graduate of the University of Tennessee and a 2005 graduate of Washington and Lee University School of Law. While at law school, she served as Executive Editor of the Race Ethnicity Ancestry Law Journal and regularly volunteered with a local juvenile detention center, where she helped young men study for their high school equivalency exams. She began working as a staff attorney with Community Legal Services of Mid-Florida, Inc. in 2005, focusing on family and landlord tenant law. In 2007, she began to defend homeowners in foreclosure cases. While in Florida, she was active with the Ocala chapter of the D.R. Smith American Inn of Court and served on the executive board of the Marion County Homeless Council. She also ran a marathon on behalf of the American Heart Association, raising over $5,000 for the organization. In 2012, she left Florida and moved back home to east Tennessee. While in east Tennessee, she volunteered with Legal Aid of East Tennessee and acted as a guardian ad litem to children within the juvenile court system. She joined the Legal Aid Society in June 2014 as an attorney with the Columbia office. She is also a veteran of the United States Army, having enlisted in 1995. After serving in Germany and Texas, she was honorably discharged in 1999. In her spare time, she enjoys playing board games, reading, and traveling.

Allison Jones
Nashville Health & Benefits Attorney

Allison Jones is a staff attorney in the Nashville office, practicing in the areas of health, public benefits, and special education. She also directs Legal Aid Society’s medical-legal partnership with Shade Tree Clinic, a comprehensive, free medical clinic staffed by Vanderbilt medical and nursing students. Allison is a legal services veteran, having worked as a consumer law paralegal at LAF in Chicago, and then as a housing law clerk and social work practicum student at Legal Services of Eastern Missouri throughout graduate school. She also served as a judicial clerk for the Honorable Laura Denvir Stith of the Supreme Court of Missouri, and for Senior Judge John T. Nixon of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee. Allison jointly received her law degree and Master of Social Work in 2013 from Washington University in St. Louis. Her undergraduate degree in History was earned at Brown University. She currently co-chairs the TALS Health and Benefits statewide task force.

Katie Kelly

Katie Kelly stepped into the vibrant world of the Gallatin office in September 2023, assuming the role of a housing and consumer rights attorney. Her journey to this point is marked by five years of unwavering commitment as a public defender, a narrative that began in the scenic landscapes of New Mexico and eventually circled back to her roots in Nashville.

Armed with a Bachelor's degree from Middle Tennessee State University and a Juris Doctorate from the prestigious University of California Davis School of Law, Katie brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her current role.

Beyond the legal arena, Katie's heart belongs to her adorable companion, Grace Kelly, a perfect pup who undoubtedly enjoys the dedicated affection bestowed upon her. Whether in the courtroom or at home, Katie Kelly embodies a spirit devoted to justice and the simple joys of canine companionship.

David Kozlowski
Director of Advocacy
(931) 771-9164
EMAIL

David Kozlowski is a 1974 graduate of Vanderbilt University Law School. He was a clinical instructor at the Vanderbilt Legal Clinic from 1975 to 1980, at which time he joined the Legal Aid Society. In 2001 he worked with the Tennessee Justice Center on several class action cases. In 2002 he became the Assistant General Counsel to the Legal Aid Society and is now the Director of Advocacy for the firm. He has been lead counsel on many significant state and federal court decisions in Tennessee involving prisoner and juvenile rights and is one of the leading appellate court advocates in Tennessee. He is the author of leading reference works on Tennessee unemployment security law and chapters on appeals from juvenile and general sessions courts in Tennessee Appellate Practice and Tennessee Law of Children. He is a frequent presenter at local, state and national training events. David received the Tennessee Bar Association’s award as the Public Service Attorney of the Year in 1998. In 2014 the Tennessee Supreme Court reappointed him to a third three year term on its Advisory Commission on the Rules of Practice and Procedure, that term expiring on December 31, 2017. He was a hearing officer for the Board of Professional Responsibility from 2002 through 2008 and was reappointed to another three year term by the Supreme Court in 2016. He and his colleague Rae Anne Smith, an attorney in the Tullahoma office, were asked by the Supreme Court in 2013 to co-chair a sub-committee of the Court Improvement Committee that was tasked with considering revisions to Tennessee’s Rules of Juvenile Procedure – a project that resulted in the adoption in 2016 of the completely rewritten Tennessee Rules of Juvenile Practice and Procedure in 2016.

Kaity Krupp
Staff Attorney
EMAIL

Kaity joined the Legal Aid Society as a staff attorney in April 2022, practicing Family Law in our Nashville office. She is a graduate of the Belmont University College of Law. Before joining Legal Aid, Kaity served as a pro bono attorney with Workers’ Dignity/Dignidad Obrera and Paulen Solidarity Law to defend Nashville tenants from evictions. She also served as a Hearing Officer for the Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development and as an associate attorney for the Law Offices of John Day.

Before law school, Kaity volunteered with Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition helping client’s complete citizenship and DACA applications. From 2012 to 2014, Kaity worked in finance and obtained her Series 6 and 63 licenses.

Kaity enjoys the outdoors. In 2013, Kaity completed the 500-mile Camino de Santiago pilgrimage in Spain. In 2017, Kaity bike-packed from Vancouver, Canada to San Francisco, California, covering over 1,000 miles on her bicycle.

Elizabeth Leiserson
Eviction Right to Counsel Project Director

Elizabeth Leiserson serves as the Project Director for LAS Eviction Right to Counsel program in Davidson County. She is a Nashville native and a graduate of Yale Law School. She came to LAS after working as a staff attorney with Southern Migrant Legal Services and clerking for the Honorable Jane Stranch of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. She joined the team because she is passionate about building a program to help her hometown in close cooperation with community groups.

Ameilia Luna
Murfreesboro Managing Attorney, Family Law Practice Lead

Amelia Miller Luna is a graduate of Middle Tennessee State University and a 2003 graduate of the University of Memphis, Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law. She joined the Legal Aid Society upon graduation. While at law school, she worked with the Elder Law Clinic. She was also an editorial board member of the Tennessee Journal of Practice and Procedure and a member of the Moot Court Board, Phi Delta Phi and the Christian Legal Society. She was the District Seven Representative for the Tennessee Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Division. In 2015, she was inducted into the TBA fellows division. In 2014, she received the President’s Distinguished Service award and the Star of the Fourth Quarter Award from TBA YLD for her work on service projects during that year. She is a 2010 graduate of the Tennessee Bar Association’s Leadership Law Program for outstanding young lawyers. She received the Nashville Business Journal's 2014 Rutherford County Impact Award. She is a member of the Rutherford County Noon Lions Club, participates in the Rutherford County Domestic Violence Advisory Board, and participates with the TN-0 program in Rutherford County. She is also treasurer for her high school alumni association and an active member of her church. Her interests are spending time with her family and spending time outside.

Miles Malbrough
Equal Justice Fellow

Miles Malbrough is a Sumner County native and a graduate of Vanderbilt University Law School. During law school, he gained experience at the federal trial and appellate court levels with Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, respectively. He began his legal career with Legal Aid Society, where he is a member of the Home Retention practice group and focuses his practice on real property estate planning.

Rachel Moses
Cookeville Attorney

Rachel Moses is a 1999 graduate of Centre College and a 2002 graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Law. In law school she was the founder and coordinator of the Family Justice Project and the Pet Project (which assisted victims of domestic violence by establishing a network of veterinarians and others who could keep pets) and was coordinator of the VITA taxpayer assistance program. She was a student attorney at the UT Legal Clinic and clerked for two summers and one semester with the Legal Aid Society’s Oak Ridge office. She is Past President of the Putnam County Bar Association. She is President of the Upper Cumberland Trial Lawyers Association. She served as a District Representative for the Tennessee Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Division from 2004-2012, and coordinated the YLD’s local high school mock trial competition and the local Wills for Heroes pro bono project, which provides free wills to emergency first responders. In 2012, she was elected as Vice President of the TBA YLD and will serve as President in 2014-2016. She is a 2010 graduate of the Tennessee Bar Association’s Leadership Law Program for outstanding young lawyers. She founded the Upper Cumberland Young Lawyers Association, which became an affiliate of the TBA’s YLD in 2010. She received the YLD’s Public Service Day Project of the Year Award in 2011 and 2012. In 2012 she received the State YLD President’s Award for “tireless dedication to the improvement of the legal profession and the TBA YLD.” She serves on the Pro Bono Advisory Committee of the Tennessee Supreme Court’s Access to Justice Commission. She is a member of the Tennessee Bar Association's Public Service Committee and is Chairperson of the YouTube Video Contest Subcommittee, which operates a civics-themed video contest for middle and high school students each year. She is a board member for the Upper Cumberland Family Justice Center. She is past President of the Cookeville Breakfast Rotary Club and served as an Assistant Governor for Rotary International District 6780. She is the Chairperson for Inbound Rotary Youth Exchange Program for international students who study in Tennessee High Schools across East and Middle Tennessee. She is also the past President of the Cookeville Evening Lions Club and is the lead screener for the KidSight Program in collaboration with the Vanderbilt Children's Eye Clinic, in which she screens the eyes for children between the ages of 1-6 years old in Putnam County schools and daycares. She coaches youth basketball and has served on the Board of Directors for Girls Incorporated of Oak Ridge and the Putnam County Youth Basketball League. She is a 2011 graduate of the Leadership Putnam Program.

Janet Mynatt
Oak Ridge Managing Attorney
EMAIL

Janet Mynatt is a graduate of the University of Virginia Law School, where she served as Managing Editor of the Journal of Law and Politics. Before joining the Legal Aid Society in 2001 as an AmeriCorps attorney working with victims of domestic violence, she worked with Lane County Legal Aid and Sexual Assault Support Services in Eugene, Oregon and in private practice. She is a graduate of the Tennessee Bar Association’s Leadership Law Class of 2009. She co-chairs the Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services’ statewide employment law task force. She is past president of the Anderson County Bar Association and is from Oak Ridge.

Katie Ovalle
Staff Attorney
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Katie Ovalle is a graduate of the University of Tennessee and Vanderbilt University Law School. After law school, she taught 1st grade with Metro Nashville Public Schools for five years. Katie passed the February 2021 Tennessee Bar Exam and started working for the Nashville office of LAS in June. She is a member of the Housing, Consumer, and Home Retention Practice Groups.

Savannah Quintero
Attorney

Savannah Flowers Quintero is a Reentry Attorney in the Nashville office. A graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Law, Savannah developed an interest in supporting justice-involved people in the College’s Legal Clinic. Mrs. Quintero fostered this interest through her work at the Tennessee Supreme Court’s Access to Justice Commission, where she organized expungement services and education in all corners of Tennessee. She is active in the Tennessee Bar Association and currently represents Davidson County on the Young Lawyer’s Division Board. Savannah is a social worker as well as an attorney, and she frequently uses her social work skills to advance her legal advocacy.

Tomi Robb
Staff Attorney

Tomi's commitment to justice didn't end there. Throughout her law school journey, she actively served at the Knox County Public Defender's Office, gaining valuable experience and nurturing her passion for facilitating restoration within the justice system. A native of Sumner County, Tomi's dedication led her back to Middle Tennessee upon graduation, where she became an Equal Justice Works Legal Fellow, sponsored by International Paper, at the Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services.

During her two-year fellowship, Tomi concentrated her efforts on critical areas such as housing and reentry, while also spearheading the development of a groundbreaking digital tool designed to assist pro se tenants facing eviction proceedings.

Notably, in 2022, Tomi was appointed by the Governor to the University of Tennessee Knoxville Advisory Board, a testament to her commitment to her alma mater and her ongoing contributions to the legal community.

In her spare time, Tomi is a passionate advocate for the arts, actively involved in theater, and dedicates herself to prison ministry and various community restoration initiatives. Her multifaceted commitment to justice and her community makes her a valuable asset and an inspiring individual.

Colleen Ryan
Attorney

Colleen Ryan joined the Legal Aid Society in September 2022 as an Eviction Right to Counsel Attorney in its Nashville office. A 2022 graduate of Belmont University College of Law, Colleen worked with a range of non-profit law firms across the mid-South throughout law school, including four semesters as a law clerk with Legal Aid’s Murfreesboro office and Volunteer Lawyers Program. She is the recipient of a Haywood Burns Fellowship from the National Lawyers Guild and a 2021 participant in the Tennessee Bar Association Young Lawyers Division’s Diversity Leadership Institute.

Colleen received her BA from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, where she was active in advocacy around diversity and inclusion initiatives and sexual and relationship violence prevention. After college, Colleen spent a year studying post-conflict recovery in the United Kingdom as a Fulbright Scholar before moving to Beijing, China through the Schwarzman Scholars Program to study cross-cultural leadership and global affairs. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, playing trivia, and taking her terrier mix rescue, Joanne, to dog parks around Nashville.

Patty Sellars
Staff Attorney
EMAIL

Patty Sellars joined Legal Aid Society August 2020 as a Staff Attorney practicing in the areas of health, public benefits, unemployment, and tax law. She obtained her undergraduate degree in 2011 from The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in Secondary Education, English and her Juris Doctorate in 2020 from The Nashville School of Law. Before deciding to pursue her dream of becoming an attorney, Patty taught English to high school students in both Marshall and Maury county, Tennessee. During law school, Patty worked as a paralegal. Currently, Patty enjoys reading, writing, traveling, and spending time with family and friends.

Chay Sengkhounmany
Lead Immigration Attorney

Chay Sengkhounmany is the Lead Immigration Attorney at the Legal Aid Society of Middle TN and the Cumberlands. At Legal Aid Society, Chay directs the Survivors Immigration Legal (SIL) Project and provides immigration legal services to survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking. Before returning to Legal Aid Society in May 2019, she was in private practice out of Murfreesboro. Practicing law since 2003, Chay handles a variety of immigration matters but has extensive experience in humanitarian immigration relief, such as VAWA, T visas and U visas. Prior to going into private practice, Chay worked in the non-profit sector for ten years. She directed the Middle Tennessee Medical-Legal Partnership (MTMLP) at Legal Aid Society for about seven years. Through the MTMLP, Chay handled general civil legal matters for the patients of the medical clinics and provided training and education to the medical staff and students. Before joining Legal Aid Society in 2007, Chay worked as a staff attorney for the Immigrant Legal Clinic of the Tennessee Coalition against Domestic and Sexual Violence, where she represented immigrant victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, human trafficking or stalking. Chay frequently presents and writes on immigration law, specifically issues related to victims of abuse or crime.

Chay is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) and has presented at several regional and national AILA conferences. She is also a member of the American Bar Association, Tennessee Bar Association, State Bar of Georgia, Nashville Bar Association, Federal Bar Association, Middle Tennessee Lawyers' Association for Women, and the Lawyers' Association for Women, Marion Griffin Chapter. She is a 2009 graduate of the Tennessee Bar Association's Leadership Law Program. She was honored by AILA as the 2014 First Quarter Pro Bono Hero for the Southeast Region. Chay earned her Bachelor's degree in Journalism, cum laude, in three years from Middle Tennessee State University and received her law degree in 2003 from Georgia State University College of Law. In 2010, Mercer University Press published her book on the history of the Lawyers Club of Atlanta. Chay is licensed to practice law in Tennessee and is an inactive member in good standing in Georgia.

Emma Sholl
Nashville Attorney

Emma Sholl was named Nashville Managing Attorney in August 2018. She is a magna cum laude graduate of Colgate University and 2014 graduate of Tulane University Law School. While in law school, she had an externship with the Southern Poverty Law Center, where she worked on a special education class action lawsuit. She was also a Juvenile Justice fellow at Children at Risk in Houston, TX, a New Orleans Children’s Advocacy Center intern, and an Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps summer fellow at Southeast Louisiana Legal Services. At Tulane, she was involved in the Disability and Health Law Society and served as a managing editor of the Tulane Journal of Technology & Intellectual Property. Her comment, “Exhibit Facebook: The Discoverability and Admissibility of Social Media Evidence” was published in 2013. She joined Legal Aid Society upon graduation. She works on health and benefits and special education cases. She is the leader of Legal Aid Society’s Health and Elder Law Program (HELP) and the co-chair of the Harris Gilbert Family Fellowship. She is also a member of the Nashville Council on Aging’s Leadership Council.

Theresa-Vay Smith
Oak Ridge Attorney

Theresa-Vay Smith is a 1996 graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Law and the Tennessee College of Business MBA program. She joined the Legal Aid Society in 1997. While at law school, she was a member of a National Trial Team and Moot Court Board and active in the legal clinic. Upon graduation, she was a volunteer attorney with the Knoxville Legal Aid Society. She is past president of the board of directors of CASA of the Tennessee Heartland and past president of Community Mediation Services of Anderson County. She is chair of the Foster Care Review Board for Anderson County. She is a 2005 graduate of the Tennessee Bar Association’s Leadership Law program for outstanding young lawyers. She was appointed as a member of the Tennessee Bar Association’s Leadership Law Steering Committee for 2009 and 2010. She is on the editorial board of the Clearinghouse Review, a national publication of the Shriver Center on Law and Poverty. The ARC of Anderson County, a United Way agency, has honored Theresa-Vay Smith as one of its recipients of the Dove Award in 2011 and 2014. The annual award recognizes individuals in the community who have gone above and beyond in their assistance to children or adults with cognitive or developmental disabilities. In 2014 the Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services gave her its B. Riney Green Award for her commitment to improving collaboration among public interest advocates in the state. She previously served on the board of directors of Chalet Ice Rinks, Inc., in Knoxville, where she also coached and taught competitive ice skating. She is from Loudon County.

Rae Anne Smith
Tullahoma Attorney

Rae Anne Smith is a 2008 graduate of the Nashville School of Law, where she received the Founder’s Award for being first in her class. She has a Bachelor in Social Work degree from Harding University and a Master of Science in Social Work from the University of Tennessee. Before attending law school, she worked for ten years in the public child welfare system. She is a member of the Cooper’s Inn Honor Society and was a student member of the Harry Phillips American Inn of Court. While in law school she interned with the Tennessee Department of Human Services’ General Counsel’s Office; clerked with the Tennessee Office of the Attorney General; and worked full-time in the Legal Aid Society’s Nashville office through the end of 2008 as a law clerk and grant writer. She joined the Legal Aid Society’s Columbia office in 2009 and transferred to the Tullahoma office in 2012. She leads the Legal Aid Society’s Gilbert Family Fellowship which focuses on cases involving children and young adults. She is past Chair and past Executive Council member of the Juvenile and Children’s Law Section of the Tennessee Bar Association. She is an appointed member and past President of the Tennessee Joint Task Force on Children’s Justice and Child Sexual Abuse and past Chair of that organization’s Court Improvement Committee. She is also a past member of the Tennessee Supreme Court’s Court Improvement Program’s Law Committee, which focuses on laws and rules affecting children. She served as co-chair of the committee that revised the Tennessee Rules of Juvenile Practice and Procedure. She is a member of the Coffee County Foster Care Review Board. In 2011 she received the Hope House Outstanding Attorney Award for her work on behalf of victims of domestic violence.

Zachary Talbot
Clarksville VOCA Lead Attorney

Zach Talbot joined Legal Aid Society in May 2019. Prior to joining LAS, he was an associate attorney with a law firm in Clarksville, Tennessee, where he litigated criminal and civil cases at the trial and appellate levels. He graduated from the University of Tennessee College of Law, magna cum laude, in 2014, and served as president of the Montgomery County Bar Association in 2018. Zach considers it a great honor to represent the clients of Legal Aid Society and is committed to the principle of equal representation under the law.

David Tarpley
Nashville Attorney

David Tarpley is a 1971 graduate of Vanderbilt University Law School. He joined the Legal Aid Society in 1971 and became managing attorney of the Consumer Section in 1974. He holds the Herman O. Loewenstein Chair, named for the donor of a generous endowment to support consumer advocacy in Nashville. He has practiced extensively in the field of consumer law and is a frequent presenter at local, state and regional training. He served for 26 years on the Board of Directors of Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Middle Tennessee. He has been an affiliate faculty member of the Vanderbilt University Law School since 1986, teaching a course on consumer credit protection. In 1997 he received the Tennessee Bar Association’s award for the Public Service Attorney of the Year. In 2003 the Nashville Business Journal identified him as one of the outstanding 100 lawyers in the Nashville bar. In 2010 he received the B. Riney Green award from the Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services. In 2013, the Nashville Business Journal named him one of three finalists for the 2013 Best of Bar in consumer law. David is an avid amateur musician who plays French horn with the Trevecca Symphony Orchestra.

Rebecca Toca
Lead Family Law
EMAIL

Rebecca joined the Legal Aid Society in October of 2020, practicing Family Law in our Nashville office. Prior to moving to Tennessee and joining Legal Aid, Rebecca served as an Assistant District Attorney at the Queens County District Attorney’s Office in Queens, New York for seven years. Rebecca served in the Domestic Violence Bureau, prosecuting violent crimes such as attempted murder, burglaries, felony assaults and felony criminal contempt cases.
Rebecca is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma and a 2013 graduate of the Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law. While in law school, she served as a student attorney for the Columbus Community Legal Services Families and the Law Clinic, as well as the Montgomery County State Attorney’s Office. She was also a Note and Comment Editor of the CommLaw Conspectus, and President of the Latin American Law Student Association. Prior to law school, Rebecca worked for the Federal Aviation Administration, in the Office of International Aviation and the Office of Aerospace Medicine.

Amber Vargas
Cookeville Attorney

Amber Vargas joined Legal Aid Society as a staff attorney in September 2018. Amber received her JD from University of Tennessee College of Law, where she participated in the Domestic Violence Clinic. Amber obtained a Bachelor in Psychology from Maryville College, where she participated in various organizations devoted to diversity and worked as an advocate at a local domestic violence shelter. Prior to graduating from law school, Amber interned with Legal Aid Society in the Cookeville office and Legal Aid of East Tennessee in Knoxville. Amber was honored as the Tennessee Bar Association’s Law Student Volunteer of the Year in 2019. Amber strives to assist victims of domestic violence escape abuse and gain independence. Her interests include fantasy and science-fiction novels and movies.

Ericka Webster
Attorney

Ericka Webster joined Legal Aid Society in September 2022. Ericka earned her bachelor’s degree in Sociology at Lane College, Jackson, Tennessee in 2018, graduating summa cum laude. Ericka then attended the University of Memphis Cecil Humphreys School of Law where she graduated cum laude. During law school, Ericka served as a staff member on Volume 51 of The University of Memphis Law Review and as Notes Editor on Volume 52 of The University of Memphis Law Review. Ericka also served as President of Christian Legal Society and was a member of the Honor Council at Memphis Law. Ericka was raised in the City of Clarksville and is honored to seek justice for its residents.

Marla Williams
Cookeville Managing Attorney

Marla K. Williams is the Managing Attorney for the Cookeville office of Legal Aid Society and is also the Lead Attorney for the Consumer Practice. She is a l988 graduate of the University of Louisville School of Law. She joined Legal Aid Society in 1988. She served as a District representative on the Board of the Tennessee Bar Association's Young Lawyer Division from 1995 to 2000. She coordinated the YLD’s high school mock trial competitions in her district. She has served on the advisory boards of the Tennessee Vocational Training Center and Consumer Credit Counseling. She serves on the boards of Putnam County Court Appointed Special Advocates and the Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services. She is a graduate of Leadership Putnam and has been a member of its Board of Trustees since that time. Marla has taught law and paralegal studies at Volunteer State Community College. From 1997 to 2003 she served as a member of the Hearing Committee of the Tennessee Board of Professional Responsibility. She is from Clay County.

Maria Zink
Attorney

Maria Zink has joined the Legal Aid Society as a tax, employment, and consumer attorney in the Oak Ridge office. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from DePaul University in 2019 with a degree in International Studies and German. She then pursued her dream of attending law school at the University of Tennessee College of Law and graduated in 2022. While attending law school, Maria clerked for the Legal Aid Society of Middle TN and the Cumberlands for two semesters and was so excited to come back after law school to start as a full-time attorney.

She has always been committed to serving her local communities and is a board member for Family Promise of Knoxville to help end family homelessness. She looks forward to seeing where this position takes her and is grateful to be able to work alongside such incredible colleagues. Maria lives in Knoxville and loves spending her free time reading books, taking hikes in the Smokies, and traveling to new cities and countries.

Amy Allen
Cookeville Receptionist / Intake Specialist

Amy Allen, intake specialist in our Cookeville office, joined Legal Aid in 2004. She brings more than twenty years of experience as a legal assistant to our firm. Originally from Jackson, Tennessee, Amy has lived in Cookeville since 1996 when her husband was honorably discharged from the U.S. Navy. Her hobbies include reading, boating, and spending time with her family. She is a graduate of Jackson Christian High School, and has attended Tennessee Technological University and Jackson State Community College.

Rhonda Bailey
Housing Navigator

Rhonda has an Associate of Applied Science in paralegal tech and an Associate of Applied Arts in communication from Itawamba Community College in Fulton, MS. Before joining LAS, Rhonda worked as a paralegal for an elder law attorney in Amory, MS. During college she participated in a work study program assisting students complete FAFSA forms and other necessary documents for college. Her prior experience will assist her when helping clients navigating through the required paperwork required by THDA for rental relief. Rhonda lives in McMinnville with her husband and children.

Lupe Betanzos
Clarksville Bilingual Domestic Violence Advocate

Guadalupe “Lupe” Betanzos joined the Clarksville office in September, 2017 as a bilingual victim advocate, having served in the same role in the Nashville office since January 2015. Previously, she worked as a correctional officer in the Alaska Department of Corrections and the Robertson County Detention Facility, where she translated for non-English speaking detainees.

Jonah Bounsana
Paralegal

Jonah joined Legal Aid Society in October 2022. As a born and raised Nashvillian, he loves every aspect of the city and the communities that make Nashville an amazing place to call home. His background is in Quality Assurance where he has worked as a QA Analyst in the automotive industry for 10+ years. Jonah is currently enrolled at NSCC working towards a degree in Paralegal Studies. He has volunteered for multiple projects with Habitat for Humanity assisting in the construction of homes for underprivileged families. When he is not working with the greatest team in immigration/family law he enjoys traveling and discovering new places, restaurants, coffee shops, music venues with his wife and their two dogs.

Tracey Brown
Clarksville Office Manager

Tracey Brown, Office Manager of the Clarksville office, has worked in the legal field for over 30 years. She joined Legal Aid Society in 2002. Tracey has been married since 1998 and has 5 children. She enjoys horseback riding and spending time with her family.

Kathy Burns
Oak Ridge Office Manager

Kathy Burns – Office Manager – I started working with Legal Services when I was hired as Administrative Assistant to the Director of Rural Legal Services in the Oak Ridge office in March of 1993. When Rural Legal Services merged with the Legal Aid Society I became the Office Manager in the Oak Ridge office. I have a Degree in Paralegal Studies. I grew up in a suburb outside of Washington, D.C. and moved to Tennessee to enjoy all of the outdoor activities Tennessee has to offer.

Karen Bush
Murfreesboro Receptionist / Intake Worker

Karen Bush has been with Legal Aid Society’s Murfreesboro Office since 1993 and is currently a legal assistant/secretary. She has a bachelor's degree in Business Administration with a minor in marketing from Middle Tennessee State University. She assists the office with performing intakes, preparing the distribution of community education materials, administering accounts payable for our office, drafting client communications and generally helping the attorneys and other office team members as needed. Karen is married and has two beautiful children. Karen has an affinity for pets as her family boasts 3 cats and 2 dogs.

Kelly Cannon
Paralegal
EMAIL

Kelly Cannon is the Health, Benefits, and Education paralegal at Legal Aid Society’s Nashville office. In this role, she specializes in matters related to Social Security benefits, Medicare and Medicaid, SNAP, and other public assistance programs. Kelly graduated from Western Kentucky University in 2015, where she earned a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science with a focus on legal studies and access to justice. She hopes that through her work as a paralegal at Legal Aid Society, she can advance the interests of those who may not otherwise have a voice. When she is not assisting clients and supporting the Nashville office, Kelly enjoys travel, hiking, and spending quiet nights with her pets.

Tanner Carson
Paralegal

Tanner Carson is a paralegal for Legal Aid Society at the Gallatin office. A native of Sumner County, Tanner graduated from Vanderbilt University in 2023 with his Bachelor’s in Economics and History. Prior to joining LAS, he worked in public administration with a focus on local planning and development. In his free time, he enjoys playing guitar and conducting historical research.

Princela Chavez
Intake Specialist

In 2024, Princela Chavez also known as Ella, embarked on a journey with Legal Aid, assuming the role of an intake specialist. Hailing from the vibrant city of Los Angeles, CA, she transplanted herself to Murfreesboro in 2012 alongside her family. Concurrently pursuing her paralegal degree at Nashville State Community College, Princela is dedicated to advancing her expertise, aiming to enhance her ability to assist those seeking legal aid.

Beyond her academic endeavors, she actively engages in various community projects, exemplifying her unwavering commitment to serving the local community. A passionate nature enthusiast, Princela discovers tranquility in outdoor escapades alongside her two cherished dogs.

With ambitions set on attending law school, Princela is propelled by a profound desire to leave a lasting and positive imprint on her immediate community, showcasing her resolute dedication to making a meaningful impact.

Trent Craig
Volunteer Lawyers Program Administrative Assistant

Trent Craig joined Legal Aid Society Legal Aid Society as VLP Administrative Assistant. Trent is a graduate of Middle Tennessee State University where he received a B.S. in Political Science. He continued his studies and obtained a paralegal certification from Boston University. Trent spent 20 years in the private sector with a book publishing company before coming to Goodwill Industries as an office administrator. The previous four months of 2019, Trent served as a bankruptcy paralegal for The Law Office of James Flexer. Trent is not totally foreign to the work of LAS as he volunteered with the Mercy Clinic in Franklin and the 3rd Saturday Clinic in Murfreesboro for over 5 years combined.

Nicholas Croom
Paralegal

Nicholas became part of the Legal Aid Society in January 2024, assuming the role of a Health, Benefits, & Education paralegal. Hailing from Murfreesboro, he proudly graduated Cum Laude from MTSU with a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice, complemented by a minor in Video & Filmography. Beyond his professional endeavors, Nicholas passionately supports the Titans, proudly bleeding blue. During his leisure moments, he indulges in a love for movies and photography.

Tina DeLacy
Clarksville Receptionist/ Secretary

Tina E. DeLacy has been employed at Legal Aid Society since late 2005. In 2003, she completed the paralegal program at Draughon’s and received an Associate’s Degree. Tina began working in the legal field in 1995, and has worked at various law firms as a legal word processor, legal secretary, paralegal, and receptionist. Legal Aid has been her favorite place to work because she truly enjoy helping people. When Tina is not working at Legal Aid Society greeting and assisting clients, she enjoys spending time with her husband and daughter.

Laura Felts
Eviction Right to Counsel Legal Navigator

Laura Felts (she/her) is currently working on the Eviction Right to Counsel Project as a Legal Navigator with the Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands. She is also an independent nonprofit development consultant focusing on tenant organizing and housing policy with organizations in New York State.

Laura has worked on housing issues for almost 10 years to bring tenants together to protect and expand their rights to safe, decent, and affordable housing. She is the former Executive Director of United Tenants of Albany (UTA) and for years worked as an organizer and housing court advocate. Laura has served as a panelist for the US Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) and the New York State Office of the Attorney General regarding best practices in eviction prevention and navigating tenants' rights & protections during the COVID19 pandemic.

Laura also contributed research and testimony to the recent investigatory report by the New York State Advisory Committee for the US Commission on Civil Rights, as well as for the NYS Senate Committee on Investigations and Government Operations, to improve code enforcement laws and address discrimination in eviction and housing policies. Laura holds a Bachelor of Arts in Latin American, Caribbean and US Latino Studies and a Bachelor of Science in Social Work from the University at Albany, SUNY. She received the Jim Perry Progressive Leadership Award from Citizen Action of New York in 2020.

Terri Flynn
Receptionist

Terri Flynn became a valuable addition to the exceptional Legal Aid Society team on December 5, 2023, taking on the crucial role of receptionist and intake specialist at the Oak Ridge office. Armed with an Associate of Applied Science degree in Office Systems Technology, with a specialization in Business, Terri brings over 25 years of experience, particularly as the Manager of a Section 8 program dedicated to assisting families with housing needs.

Her dedication is further underscored by her certification as a Certified Administration Professional from the International Association of Administrative Professionals, formerly known as Certified Professional Secretary. Hailing from Oak Ridge, Terri's roots are deeply embedded in the community.

Beyond her professional achievements, Terri is an avid animal lover, finding joy in the company of her dogs. Her priorities include quality time with her family and friends, though not necessarily in that order—highlighting her genuine and well-rounded approach to life.

Ana Garcia
Immigration Paralegal

Ana Garcia joined Legal Aid Society in May 2019 as the Immigration Paralegal. She spent the last 3 years working as a legal advocate in the immigration clinic of the Tennessee Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence. She worked with immigrant victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, and human trafficking. She is bilingual and has experience interpreting and translating for Spanish speaking clients.

Eleanor Geary
Legal Assistant

Eleanor is the Legal Assistant for the Legal Aid Society in the Columbia, TN. She was born and raised in Middle Tennessee and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in 2019. Before joining the Legal Aid Society, Eleanor interned and volunteered with numerous labor unions and previously worked as a legal assistant for a litigation firm in Nashville.

As a legal assistant, Eleanor aided attorneys representing government entities and children born with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) against manufacturers and distributors of opioids. She is deeply committed to supporting attorneys and clients with whatever they need their pursuits of justice. In her free time, she enjoys spending time at church, reading, writing, and taking care of her beloved cats.

Jana Goolsby
Law Clerk

In March 2024, Jana Goolsby became a valued member of Legal Aid Society, working with the Housing and Family Law practice in the Columbia office. A distinguished alumna of Murray State University, she earned her Bachelor of Arts in Business degree in International Business with magna cum laude honors in 2019, complemented by a minor in Spanish. Jana further solidified her commitment to justice by graduating from Belmont University College of Law in 2023, during which she actively contributed to the Belmont Legal Aid Society.

Her dedication to aiding victims of domestic violence emerged during her internship at the Nashville District Attorney's office while pursuing her legal education. Following her academic journey, Jana served as the Equal Justice Works 2023 Rural Summer Legal Corps Fellow, where she played a crucial role in providing reentry services to rural community members. Eager to return to the Columbia office, she brings a wealth of experience and enthusiasm.

Outside the legal realm, Jana finds solace in her love for reading and cherishes moments spent with family and friends. Additionally, she enjoys leisurely walks with her delightful Cavapoo puppy, Kookie. Jana's multifaceted background and passion for social justice make her a valuable asset to the Legal Aid Society.

Karen Hernandez

Karen, a graduate of Trevecca Nazarene University, holds a bachelor's degree in social work with a minor in public policy. Her journey into advocacy commenced long before her graduation, ignited by an unwavering passion for social justice. Diving into various experiences, Karen dedicated herself to working closely with the Hispanic population and individuals affected by interpersonal violence, solidifying her commitment to uplifting marginalized communities. This trajectory propelled her into the role of an Immigration Advocate at Legal Aid Society. Beyond her professional endeavors, Karen finds joy in traveling, delving into literature, and embracing the great outdoors.

Tahetia Jackson
Office Manager

Tahetia brings a wealth of experience in customer service, honed through various roles. Notably, she served as a Covid Cluster Investigator, Public Health Educator, and Covid Call Bank Manager with the Tennessee Department of Health. Having made Tennessee her home since 1987, she originally hails from San Bernardino, California. Tahetia holds a degree in Dental Assistantship from Volunteer State Community College, graduating in 2010.

In her personal life, Tahetia cherishes her marriage to her husband, Anthony. She is a proud parent to four children and adores her four grandchildren immensely. Beyond her professional commitments, Tahetia finds joy in culinary pursuits, gardening, and cherished moments with her family.

Her journey into public speaking traces back to her formative years; in the 6th grade, Tahetia's teacher often called upon her for impromptu speeches, an experience she now values greatly as it equipped her for various adult roles.

Jessica Jernigan
Tullahoma Paralegal

Jessica Jernigan, an advocate in our Tullahoma office, joined Legal Aid Society in 2002. She previously has worked as a licensed social service worker with the Utah Division of Child and Family Services and with the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services. Active in the community, Jessica has volunteered with Your Community Connection (YCC) as a trained rape crisis and domestic violence worker and also has served on numerous non-profit boards including Families in Crisis, the Grundy County Health Council, and the Regional Health Council. Her interests include theatre, anything outdoors and gardening. Jessica holds a bachelor’s of science in social work from Weber State University.

Gretchen Jones
Paralegal

Gretchen brings a vast amount of expertise concerning Social Security and Medicare affairs. With an extensive background of 15 years as a legal assistant and paralegal, she has specialized in handling SSDI and SSI cases. Her professional experience includes assisting clients with SSI and SSDI benefit applications, obtaining medical records, completing SSA reports and forms, and managing online appeals. She is highly experienced in supporting individuals with low-income and disabilities. While her recent focus was on housing law, Gretchen is thrilled to be back in the realm of Social Security law. On a lighter note, it's worth mentioning that Gretchen is the proud owner of a hand-poured soy wax candle company, which adds a unique touch to her diverse profile.

Zane Jud
Eviction Right to Counsel Program Coordinator

Zane Jud graduated Summa Cum Laude from Bradley University with two Bachelor’s degrees in Political Science with an Ethics concentration, and the other in History with a Spanish concentration. He then went on to receive his Master’s degree, Summa Cum Laude, in Non-Profit Leadership and Business from Bradley University. In his collegiate career, Zane produced two research studies titled, “Consequences of the ‘Work Spouse’ in Team Centric Organizations” and “Perceptions of Women in Democratic Institutions”.

While pursuing his degrees, Zane also worked in the Residential Living department as a Resident Director, served with the Office of the Mayor and the Office of Public Health and Safety for the City of Indianapolis, and coordinated Every Student Initiative at the Peoria Riverfront Museum.

Zane was born in Fishers, Indian. After obtaining his Master's degree from Bradley, he moved to Nashville, TN to be with his wife Kristen. Zane can be found watching all of his Chicago sports teams, hosting game nights, and hitting the frisbee golf course. Zane also enjoys trying new coffee shops, playing Dungeons and Dragons, and being a first time “cat dad” to his cat, Bebop.

Marletta Lilly
Clarksville Secretary

Marletta Lilly has been with Legal Aid Society for 14 years. She graduated from Miller-Motte College with an Associate’s Degree as a Paralegal in 1995. In 2001 she became a Certified Legal Assistant/Paralegal through the National Association of Legal Assistants/Paralegals. She has been a member of the National Association of Legal Assistants/Paralegals since 2001 and the Smoky Mountain Paralegal Association since 2005. She has served as Clarksville’s Office Work Place Coordinator for United Way for the past 7 years. Her free time is devoted to her family and church.

Nicole Lonza
Legal Assistant
EMAIL

I am originally from Wisconsin, but I grew up in La Vergne, TN, and I have lived in Nashville for over 10 years now. I am a first-generation college student and currently pursuing my Paralegal Studies A.A.S at Nashville State. I plan to go for my B.A .after I complete my A.A.S. I have a vast background in customer service and administration. Recently, I worked with the merchants and payments at the Postmates/Uber office and as a freelance personal assistant position with the co-CEO of Black Sheep’s Society Enterprises. I also love to volunteer. I have experience with Tennessee Immigrant & Refugee Rights Coalition, Elmahaba Center, Second Harvest, Hands-on Nashville, and a few others.

Gail Martin
Paralegal
EMAIL

Gail joined the Columbia Office of Legal Aid in January, 2019. Currently working as a Paralegal, she has several years of experience in the legal field; primarily dealing with criminal law. Along with working as a Legal Assistant for the Public Defender’s Office, she was a Misdemeanor Probation Officer for 10 years. Later she worked for a private attorney as his Criminal Legal Assistant. She enjoys her position of Paralegal, in which she speaks with and completes intakes for potential clients, and assists the attorneys in the office. Gail enjoys seeing the successes that the attorneys in her office achieve for their clients

Sarah McCormick
Office Manager/Receptionist

Sarah McCormick is Maury County native. She attended Santa Fe Unit School, Columbia State Community College, and Middle Tennessee State University. She is proud military spouse and a mother of one. For the last 10 years, she had been working in mortgage processing & underwriting until joining the LAS family in February 2023. During her free time, she enjoys baking, watching movies, riding her E-Bike around her neighborhood, playing video games, all things “Lord of the Rings” related, and cuddling with her pets.

Ashley Miravalle
Legal Assistant

Ashley Miravalle, the receptionist and intake specialist at the Cookeville office, holds a bachelor’s degree from Brigham Young University and boasts over 15 years of administrative expertise. Relocating from Florida in May 2023, she brings a wealth of experience and warmth to her role. Outside of work, Ashley cherishes moments with loved ones, indulges in playtime with her pets, Oreo the cat and Cinnamon the puppy, engages in church youth teachings, and delights in exploring waterfalls, nature, and traveling adventures.

Tabitha Molnar
Nashville Community Outreach Advocate / Housing Paralegal

Tabitha Molnar moved to the Nashville Area in 2016 and began working at Legal Aid Society in May of the same year as a Community Outreach Advocate/ Paralegal for the Mortgage and Foreclosure team. She mainly works in the Nashville office but also works on cases from the Gallatin, Clarksville and Columbia offices. She graduated from Bellarmine University in Louisville, Kentucky in 2014 with a Bachelors of Arts degree in Psychology and Criminal Justice. Tabitha developed a passion for working with the under-served and lower income population when she volunteered for the Center for Women and Families, a domestic violence shelter in Louisville. After college, she spent the summer working as a Boy’s Side counselor at a seven week sleepaway athletic camp in New York. When she returned, Tabitha began working at a personal injury firm in Louisville, Adams Legal Group. She enjoys kayaking, volleyball and cheering on the Kentucky Wildcats in basketball.

Nermeen Morcos
Victims Advocate

Before moving to Nashville in 2013, Nermeen worked with homeless and disabled children in Egypt, her country of birth. Nermeen holds a Bachelors of Art degree in Social Work and has worked in numerous positions before joining Legal Aid Society. Some of which include, cashiering at Kroger, being a daycare worker, and working for Shalom Health. Nermeen is married and has a beautiful 3-years-old daughter. In her spare time, Nermeen enjoys drawing and learning new things.

Peggy Pellett
Consumer Paralegal

Peggy Pellett joined Legal Aid in 2017 as an administrative assistant for the Volunteer Lawyers Program in the Nashville Office. In 2019 she transitioned to the consumer/housing department where she is currently the consumer paralegal. Previously, Peggy spent 15 years as a registrar at the Nashville Zoo.

She earned a bachelor of science from the University of Colorado and has a degree in communications technology from the Colorado Institute of Art.

Tarina Prather
Receptionist and Intake Worker

Tarina has a Bachelor’s degree in Organizational Leadership and a Master’s degree in Business Administration from Bethel University. Before joining LAS, she worked as the ministry assistant at Living Truth Christian Center. She even facilitated a community education event where Attorney Alise Housden spoke on housing issues. Tarina has managed and served as an office lead in her previous positions, which will help her excel as she is helps on the front lines of the Murfreesboro office. She is a loving wife and mother of 7 (all of which are adults). "I love a good laugh and to have fun because life is short," said Tarina. Helping her community and building relationships is one of her many passions.

You can find Tarina outside at different pop-up shop events, festivals, etc. as she sells her Hot Tamales! Tarina also helps her husband out on some weekends with their other business KP’s Mobile Detail. You might even say, “Tarina is a jack of all trades!”

Angela Ridings
Tullahoma Office Manager

Angela Ridings is a graduate of Alcoa High School. Angela began working in the Tullahoma office as a temporary receptionist in 2004; became a full time employee in 2005; and became the office manager in 2011. Prior to coming to work for Legal Aid Society, she worked 7 years in a private law office in North Carolina. During Angela’s husband military service they were stationed in Germany where Angela volunteered at the Army Community Service (ACS) on the military base. She helped military families prepare for a move overseas and connected them with resources when they arrived. This is where Angela’s love of helping people began.

Krista Scruggs
Gallatin Secretary / Intake Worker

Krista Scruggs is a Gallatin native and attended Gallatin High School. In 2006 she decided to better herself so she could provide a better life for her 3 children. She graduated from the Sumner County Adult Education program in 2006 which she now sits on the Board. She graduated from Volunteer State Community College in 2008 with an Associate of Applied Science Degree specializing in Paralegal Studies. She graduated from Middle Tennessee State University in 2011 with a Bachelors Degree in Criminal Justice. She came to Legal Aid Society in 2007. She is also over the Contract Attorney Program (CAP) in the Gallatin Office and clinics for the Gallatin office. Krista provides case management assistance to the two Family Law and Health and Benefits lawyers. Krista performs paralegal duties to support the activities of the staff attorneys, including drafting and typing legal documents, conducting intake, researching, compiling and drafting discovery, making telephone calls, transcribing dictation, data processing, case file maintenance, meeting with clients, and record keeping. Krista assists in educating and advocating for low-income people. Krista has been with Legal Aid Society since 2007.

Sandy Seiber
Oak Ridge Receptionist/ Intake Worker

Sandy Seiber joined our Legal Aid Office in Oak Ridge in 2017. She assists the office with performing intakes, preparing the distribution of community education materials, answering calls and generally helping the attorneys and other office team members as needed. Prior to working at Legal Aid, she worked as a Veterinarian Assistant. After 15 years of doing that, she decided to try something a little different. She worked 2 years at Morgan County Correctional Complex as a Jobs Clerk as well as a health coach at the fitness club, Curves. Sandy is married and has two beautiful children. When she is not assisting clients and supporting the Oak Ridge office, Sandy enjoys fishing, singing and ghost hunting.

Queidalys Simmons
Victims Advocate
EMAIL

Queidalys joined the Legal Aid Society as a bilingual Victims Advocate in the Columbia office in October 2021, after receiving her bachelor’s degree in social work from the Middle Tennessee State University in May 2021. This, however, was not her first experience with Legal Aid. She served as an intern from August 2020 to May 2021, primarily assisting the housing attorney. Before joining the Legal Aid Society team, she as the Limited English Proficiency (LEP) advocate with Center of Hope serving primarily Hispanic victims/survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking and human trafficking. As a bilingual advocate, she was able to demonstrate that language should not be a barrier to break the cycle of violence and will continue to do the same here at Legal Aid.

Justin Smith
Advocate

Justin Smith is a victim’s advocate at the Tullahoma Office. He grew up in Tullahoma, Tennessee. He is a graduate of the Cleveland State Community College Police Academy and is P.O.S.T. certified. Justin obtained a Bachelor of Science from Bethel University and graduated with honors.
Justin was in law enforcement for fifteen years before his career at the Legal Aid Society. As a law enforcement professional, he enjoyed helping the community and improving the world around him. Two years ago, Justin decided to take a leap of faith and attend the Nashville School of Law. In his first year, he made the Dean's list which was a personal goal for him. Justin believes through the practice of law; he can further improve his community and help those in need. Justin stated The Legal Aid Society is a perfect fit to help him accomplish those goals.
Currently, all his time is dedicated to the study of law. During his few " downtimes, " he enjoys spending time with his family. Justin looks forward to expanding his law experience and bringing the skills he has developed to The Legal Aid Society.

Ashley Spyers

Brittany is a licensed master’s level social worker who earned her master’s degree from the University of Kentucky in 2022. She has a passion for helping those in rural counties and has worked serving these areas for 4 years. Over time, she hopes to earn her LCSW and provide therapy services in these same areas.

Pat Sullivan
Tullahoma Receptionist

Pat Sullivan is a 1970 graduate of Tullahoma High School. She was a stay at home Mom for several years, but as her children grew Pat decided to enter the work force. Pat worked for Centerstone Mental Health Center in Tullahoma from 1996 to 2010. She was promoted to office manager in 1997 and continued in that role until her retirement in 2010. After 7 months of retirement Pat decided to return to work and accepted a position with Legal Aid Society in April, 2011. Pat enjoys greeting the clients, and helping them through the intake process. When Pat isn’t at work she enjoys traveling, reading, and spending time with her family, especially her grandchildren.

Sonja Summers
Gallatin Secretary / Legal Assistant

Sonja Summers is a born and raised Middle Tennessean. She worked for Buffaloe and Associates from January 1994 to April 2015 as a paralegal. While working at Buffaloe and Associates, she had opportunities to work with attorneys and staff within Legal Aid Society. At Buffaloe, Sonja felt the need to work with defending and aiding consumers rather than representing the creditors. She came to Legal Aid in April of 2015 with over 20 years of legal experience. Since working for Legal Aid Society, she has been involved in community outreach and enjoys the opportunity of helping people in the Gallatin service area. Sonja provides legal assistance to the Gallatin Staff attorneys, the Housing/Consumer practice groups, meets with clients, conducts intakes, assists in office management, completes dictations and filings. Sonja has two daughters, Meagan and Sara, and one grandchild.

Kelly Tindell
Paralegal

Kelly is a proud alumna of Pellissippi State Community College, where she earned her A.A.S. degree in Paralegal Studies in 2012. Embarking on a decade-long journey in the legal realm, she carved out an impressive career as a paralegal in private practice.

Throughout her 10-year tenure, Kelly played a pivotal role in a spectrum of cases, spanning family law, criminal matters, and probate. Her dedication to professional growth led her to obtain certification from the National Association of Legal Assistants in 2020. Notably, she further solidified her expertise with an advanced certification in Family Law – Child Custody, Support, and Visitation in 2021.

In 2023, Kelly brought her wealth of experience and newfound certifications to the Legal Aid Society, marking a meaningful chapter in her paralegal career. Eager to contribute to the society's mission, she looks forward to expanding her knowledge of the services offered and making a positive impact in the lives of those in need.

Beyond her professional pursuits, Kelly finds joy in the simple pleasures of life. Whether spending quality time with family and friends, indulging in her passion for music, showcasing her baking skills, or passionately cheering on the Vols, Kelly embraces a well-rounded and fulfilling lifestyle.

Grace Troutman
VLP Assistant

Grace, a proud New Orleans native, has joined LASMTC as the Volunteer Lawyers Program Assistant. Armed with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Mississippi State University, alongside minors in Spanish and Political Science, she brings a diverse and impressive academic background to our team.

Her journey through academia was marked by meaningful experiences, including her role as a dedicated Research Assistant at the Stennis Institute of Government within MSU. She further honed her skills and passion by serving as an Aide for a Congressional campaign in Mississippi and contributing as a legislative intern at the U.S. House of Representatives.

Grace's aspirations are clear and compelling. With her sights set on becoming a civil rights lawyer, she is enthusiastically embracing her part in realizing the Legal Aid Society's community-focused vision. Beyond her professional pursuits, Grace finds joy in reading, whipping up culinary creations, and perfecting her fluency in Spanish.

Paula Trujillo
Oak Ridge Bilingual Outreach Worker

Paula Murphy Trujillo is an Outreach Community Paralegal of the Tennessee Taxpayer Project. She has a bachelor degree in Political Science and a Masters in J.D. from La Universidad Nacional de Trujillo, Peru. She is a licensed attorney in Peru. In 1998, she began with Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands as a volunteer helping Spanish speaking clients while attending the University of Tennessee College of Law. She is a member of The Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition, Latino Taskforce, board member of Community Economic Development Network of East Tennessee (CEDNET) and former board member of Centro Hispano of East Tennessee.

Tiffany Trussell
Law Clerk

Tiffany joined Legal Aid Society’s Eviction Right to Counsel team in May 2023. She works in the Nashville office. Tiffany graduated with honors from Emory University School of Law, and she earned her Bachelor’s degree in Social Work from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. During law school Tiffany was active in the Moot Court Society, competing in the Philip C. Jessup International Law moot court competition and the American Bar Association’s National Appellate Advocacy competition. She won an individual honor as a top oralist in the Georgia Intrastate Moot Court competition. Tiffany served as the President of the Legal Association for Women Students, and as a member of the Emory Law Diversity & Inclusion Coalition and the Emory University Senate Committee for the Prevention of Sexual Violence. Before law school, she practiced social work as a Victim Advocate in the Clarksville office of Legal Aid Society. Tiffany was raised in Tullahoma and is eager to pursue justice for Middle Tennesseans.

Aariel Washington
Legal Assistant

Aariel is a U.S. Army Veteran who was born and raised in Tuscaloosa, Alabama but has been living in Tennessee for the past 11 years. She recently graduated from Middle Tennessee State University with a Bachelor's degree in Social Work and a minor in Psychology. Aariel is passionate about making a positive impact and prioritizing the well-being of others. She is particularly interested in mental health and policy issues. In the future, she plans to establish her own non-profit organization, but for now, she is dedicated to giving back through her work and volunteering efforts. Aariel joined the Legal Aid Society's Eviction Rights to Counsel Program as the HBE intake Specialist after completing her internship with the organization. She possesses excellent communication skills, active listening abilities, and conflict management expertise. In her leisure time, Aariel enjoys engaging in various indoor and outdoor activities with her family, cooking, baking, listening to music, and pursuing arts and crafts.

Katie Williams
Paralegal
EMAIL

Kathleen (Katie) Williams came to Tennessee as a transplant from New York. She holds a BA from New York University and attended the NYU School of Law. In New York her focus was on criminal justice reform especially as it pertains to juveniles charged as adults. She has presented at conferences and joined panels to present and discuss juvenile justice. Katie has a strong interest in the issues that present to the previously incarcerated as they adapt to living “outside the walls”. She places affordable, habitable housing as the number one need for those individuals. Since moving to Tennessee, Katie has worked as a paralegal doing support work for law firms who focus on Wills and Estates, Probate and Property matters. She is a member of the National Juvenile Defenders, the ACLU and Amnesty International.